All they wanted was a lemonade stand.

When my kids came to me yesterday afternoon, after a long day of being at home with nothing much to do and the bickering and general unrest that comes along with the last week of summer, and asked to set up a lemonade stand in the front yard, my initial reaction was NO STINKIN’ WAY.

But then I quickly reconsidered and decided it could be a good way to occupy them while I finished up my work.  Besides, after nagging them all morning to find something constructive to do, how could I argue with this entrepreneurial endeavor?

And truth be told, somewhere in the back of my mind were visions of my blog adorned with quaint photos of my kids holding up handmade signs and happily selling lemonade to the neighbors as they fulfill this rite of childhood passage.


Pollyanna called and she wants her rose-colored glasses back.  (That’s for you, June.)

It all started out well enough.  We had a bottle of ReaLemon in the fridge, and the kids discovered long ago that if you add water and a few pounds of sugar, it tastes a lot like lemonade.  (There’s nothing like making your own fruit juice to make you realize how much sugar is in those innocent looking juice boxes.  Yes, I had to go there.)

Of course, upon further investigation, I realized we were out of sugar, and we didn’t have any disposable cups, so I agreed to run out to CVS to get some.

So much for finishing my work.

After our CVS run, we began making our lemonade.  Of course, they wanted to make it themselves.

Cue bickering (them) and nagging (me).

After the lemonade was made, and remnants of sugar and sticky lemon juice covered every inch of my kitchen counters, my son filled a pitcher with ice, and I poured the lemonade over it.  Then I pointed out that at 3:00 in the afternoon, there would be very little traffic coming through the neighborhood, so I convinced them to wait until 5:00 to set up their stand, when people would be coming home from work.

And that’s where things really fell apart.

Not wanting the lemonade to get watered down, I went to strain out the ice, and as I got almost to the end, the lid slipped out, and lemonade and ice went EVERYWHERE.

And mommy lost it.

After my initial outburst of frustration, I managed to get a hold of myself before I totally ruined their project, and I channeled my irritation into some sort of crazy song about lemonade on the floor that ended with us giggling uncontrollably.

It was one of those moments that could have taken a major turn for the worse, and many days it would have, but somehow I managed to salvage it at the last minute and turn lemons into lemonade. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) But it begs the question, why can’t I remember to do that more often? It’s just as easy to laugh as it is to yell, and it’s so much more pleasant. If I could leave my kids with anything in this life besides faith in God, it would be the ability to laugh in the face of frustration. I only wish I could model it more often.

I’d love to tell you that it was all rainbows and butterflies after that, but this is my life after all.

It was about 189 degrees in Philly yesterday, so when they finally set up the picnic table in our driveway with their homemade lemonade in our new red Coleman thermos and the matching red cups we’d picked up earlier in the day (the color coordination was not planned, trust me) they lasted all of about five minutes before they were complaining.

“This is hard.”

“It’s so hot.”

“I’m tired.”

Of course, when I ran out to snap those quaint happy photos I had envisioned, all I got was this.

And this.

And this.

In fact, I’m pretty sure more lemonade was consumed than was sold, which might explain the sugar high that ensued.

Finally people started driving by and ordering lemonade, and the mood changed.

The first people that drove by donated a dollar to the Lemonade Stand Fund.   (I told the kids to just ask for a donation, rather than setting a price and having to deal with making change.)  After that, they had a fairly steady stream of traffic.

And all’s well that ends well. I ended up with my happy pictures after all — a few of them, anyways.  The kids made about $3 each, the thermos was drained of its sugary goodness, and they finally stopped fighting and whining.

And the first day of school is one day closer.


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27 thoughts on “All they wanted was a lemonade stand.

  1. I had to read this post to my hubby, who loved your Pollyanna comment. I laughed myself to tears over the first photo. I’m still chuckling! And I totally agree about needing to model laughter instead of frustration yelling. I’m not good at that. Loved this post!

  2. I echo what Sarah said, you really are a good Mom!! I envisioned the bicker, nagging and then the catastrophe! Thank goodness we can model the laughter and fun to our kids. They need it – thanks for sharing this!

  3. oh those pictures (and the progression from angry to happy) are just priceless! Love it! Oh! I’ve been meaning to ask you how you made the decision to share photos of your kids on the blog? I’ve been struggling with that lately and would love to know your take on it.

    1. Honestly, it still bothers me a bit to have their pictures so out there. But I went through a time where I didn’t post their photos, and I hated it. Pictures make the posts, I think, and I’m just not creative enough to take pictures of them and hide their faces in clever ways. So I just have to hope that with so many blogs with family pictures displayed on them, and you never hear of anything truly awful happening, that it will be okay. Statistically, it’s much more dangerous to put them in the car and drive to the grocery store.

  4. My husband mentioned this idea to my kids way back at the beginning of summer. But we live on a street with very little traffic, so we would have to set it up somewhere else in the neighborhood. That meant it had to happen when both of us were home, so I could stay home with the baby and 2 yo and he could handle the other kids. It never happened. I’m kind of sad, but not really. They eventually stopped asking when we would do it. Maybe next year.

    1. See, it shouldn’t have been a big deal. It’s just typical with me – the simplest things always end up being a drama. Argh.

  5. I am right with you (and equally frustrated with myself) at the lack of enthusiasm for messy, involved projects. I wish I was the mom that didn’t care about the mess or could at least delay the cleaning and enjoy the moment, but it takes a lot of effort on my part to get in that mood set.

    I could totally see myself in this post. Thanks for your candor. Happy lemonade drinking!

  6. Thanks for the laugh as a fellow mom who just freaked out when she found the two year old standing on the counter and a box of matches dumped all over the floor because I just had to finish that last post before I put him down for a nap. At least it wasn’t lemonade!

  7. At first I’m thinking, “She let them set up a lemonade stand AFTER school? Yeahs, she’s awesome.” But then I realized your kids have not started yet. Mine has been in for 3 weeks!

    Anyway, looks like they had a good time despite the rough start and yes, you are awesome. 🙂

  8. I let my girls set up a lemonade stand earlier this summer. We did the donation thing for the same reason. A neighbor asked them what they were donating the money to. My oldest told her “summer fun?” (I still get a little giggle at that.) Anyway, I thought it was so weird for her to ask that and she did it looking down her nose at us. Hasn’t she ever heard of anything like it? Anyway, they were happy. They lasted about an hour before they were completely bored.

  9. Love this post! I figure, if I can’t change the situation, I can change my attitude and/or expectations about the situation. Takes the pressure off.

    Thanks so much for linking to this on facebook – it really helps me remember to check your blog!

  10. That’s too funny! My DD also asked to do a lemon aid stand about a month back. I took her to Walmart and purchased a poster, cups, and some lemon aid flavored Kook-aid. I told her my initial investment of $8 was a gift to her, but if she wanted to keep doing a stand she would be responsible to purchase the supplies with her earnings.
    The first day I think she made about $8 in 2-3 hours. Then a few days later she wanted to add cookies to her stand, so I made up some oatmeal choc. chip cookies and she sold them as well. The second time she made over $12 in about 3-4 hours.

    It was cute to see her and her brother out there selling, and I was suprised how many people stopped. She was selling it for 25 cents a cup- so she had quite a few people stop by! Of course she did get a lot of tips too!

  11. So proud of you for keeping your cool! I would have freaked for sure…I don’t handle that stuff very well lately.

    I used to love having Lemonade stands as a kid! We have very little traffic on our street so it wouldn’t work for our kids as much. I wish they could!!

  12. What a great reminder for us all: sometimes we need to laugh rather than yell! I, for one, am very proud of you for taking the lemons and making lemonade out of them!! Way to go.

  13. This line is awesome: “It’s just as easy to laugh as it is to yell, and it’s so much more pleasant.”

    I want to read it every day to remind myself of its truth.

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